This week’s small pleasures #248

Another day in lockdown, with 562 cases now. We’ll be dropping down to Level 3 here on Wednesday, but Auckland will be staying at Level 4 for another two weeks. At least it seems people are going out and getting vaccinated, which can only be a good thing. But this post is about small pleasures…and one of the best things that happened this week was chatting to my niece and brother in Vancouver. My niece was able to travel from Washington DC across the border to visit her father for the first time in goodness knows how long. It was wonderful for them, and also wonderful for me to see and chat to them both.

Other small pleasures are some of the flowers spotted in the Botanic Gardens on my lockdown walks. From beautiful camellias, to a stunning bright red rhododendron, to these gorgeous red and blue primroses (primrose red eye blue to be precise).

As my husband is the designated shopper at the moment, lists have to be made and meals planned a little more carefully. It is hard though as I can’t see what vegetables look good this week. We had meat delivered on Friday from Cameron Harrison (some of their prize winning ham, lamb for a Sunday evening curry, and some really delicious pork, apple, rosemary and sage sausages). We have an abundance of Granny Smith apples to make apple crumble and perhaps an apple cake of some sort, oranges as they are in season and can be eaten as or made into juice, and a large supply of carrots which I am going to have to get creative with over the coming days.

I also managed to listen to two interesting talks this week: one celebrating the life of Dame Margot Fonteyn and her influence on British ballet from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the other from NGV in Melbourne on the works of impressionists Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt. I’m looking forward to another talk this week from NGV on the changing nature of Paris.

Staying in, we really enjoyed The Chair on Netflix and have been picking up old episodes of the Wellington set comedy, Wellington Paranormal. We also quite enjoyed the British thriller We Hunt Together. Podcast of the week has to be The Bucatini Dialogues: A Debate About Pasta Shapes over at The Sporkful, a hilarious discussion on pasta, and I enjoyed this piece by Jay Rayner about his life as a food critic.

What were your small pleasures? Here are some other blog posts from fellow bloggers looking at the good things in life.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. I love the colours in your flowers! Isn’t it great hearing that some people are able to travel and see their family, I am so happy for your family in Vancouver. An interesting snippet, my husband is a distant relative of Granny Smith!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Now you will really laugh: after not having a drop of water in our taps for four days in a row … I was able to enjoy a good bath this morning and feel like a new person. A facecloth wash just isn’t the same!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those darned numbers! We watched the The Chair and liked it. (Especially me.) Sandra Oh is so darned good. That fruit looks utterly delicious. And those flowers. Finally, thank goodness for streaming and podcasts. Always something to look forward to.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Always wonderful photos. And your Featured Image (which I’ve learned to see by clicking “see all comments”) simply took my breath away. I feel the soft leather of the petal and inhale its aroma and just gasp each time I peak at it. (Lovely to hear about your niece’s visit to her dad; I live quite near Washington DC. If she ever needs a quick “Auntie,” she should reach out to me. My name @gmail.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! These lilies pop up all over the place at this time of year. My niece actually lives just over the border in Maryland. Thank you so much for your kind offer – it made my heart glow. At least my niece is not alone, having a husband and children, a sister nearby, as well as other family and extended family.


  5. Love the vibrancy of those primroses and of course the rest of the small pleasurable flowers from the Botanic Gardens.
    My small pleasure/s for now is that I can do whatever I like but only at home…only just functioning after the Wild West put on a show for us local inhabitants, although I’m not in the part of the West that has sustained much flooding/evacuation. I just found a large branch in the driveway after I ventured up to the post box…light enough for me to bring it down.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you are able to get such a good selection of food for Lockdown. The Cameron Harrison butcher is really impressive, I wish we had so much choice for meats ..especially online orders. We were booked to go to the NGV for the impressionists exhibition, I hope they extend the time and we can go another time….hope springs eternal!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to say I hadn’t thought of ordering meat, but it popped up in social media I think, and as I knew them as a butcher, thought why not. Really good quality, slightly more expensive than the supermarket but you definitely get really good produce, and let’s face it, this is lockdown and we need treats!

      I might do the virtual tour of the impressionist exhibition at NGV since we have no hope of getting over. Hope you manage to get to Melbourne sometime in the coming months.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank goodness for lockdown walks! Your daily dose of sanity also brought me time to think about my maternal grandmother. Her favourite flower was anthuriums – she had them in her wedding bouquet, is what I’ve been told. Now, I’m not sure if she chose them for this special occasion because they were her favourites, or that they became her favourites because of the association with the occasion. Nevertheless, I chuckle as I remember her.

    It is very difficult to shop via someone else, particularly when you derive inspiration from fresh produce. And making a list for someone else to work off is a challenge all of its own! I find myself picking up many items which never made it to my list.

    Apples apples apples! Crumble, cake … yum. I have a bag of Granny Smith’s in the fridge too. May be it’s a good day for a crumble.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh how lovely to have that story to trigger a memory of your grandmother. I actually got to a shop today! It was wonderful…sounds so silly when you think about it. Apple crumble is always good – hope you made one.


      1. Not at all. Shopping isn’t my favourite activity but I do love a good poke around in a supermarket. And when one hasn’t gone out in a while ….

        My apple crumble got delayed … I think an apple challah is forthcoming this weekend, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I think that life in lockdown really allows us to enjoy and be grateful for, the simple pleasures! I am usually the designated shopper but I’m training my husband so he can take over the role – our lockdown doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon. Yay for your restrictions easing and people getting vaccinated. It must have been so lovely to see your brother and niece together – I can’t wait for the borders to re-open but am really grateful for technology making the world a much smaller place 🙂


    1. There are some good things about lockdown – more birdlife, taking a slower pace – but obviously no-one really wants it. I’m with you – so grateful for technology to help us connect.


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